Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Faith or fear.......

I have never really in any way understood the notion of giving oneself to an ideology or whatever, without first embarking on at least a minuscule amount of investigation. This is what vast swathes of the population of this planet do of course. Some believe in this, some believe in that, but whatever they believe in, none of them have any actual evidence that what they believe in is indeed real. This is what we call faith.

This to my mind is madness! Ok, I can understand a human being turning to some kind of God in times of great peril for arguments sake, this could be deemed to be natural and fair enough, but that is about as far as I am prepared to give quarter.

I have just watched a documentary on North Korea. It was astounding, sad, depressing, incredible, and at times perversely amusing. I am not going to delve into the history of this country etc. as I am sure McAdam is having to be restrained by his handlers as we speak! I can hear him now "Let me at him, I have got facts and figures that will make his puny head explode. Let me at him!" (Sorry private joke again - how are you Steve?) But all I want to do is discuss the unnerving connection between faith and fear.

The country is ruled by an outright dictator that goes by the name of (Accessing google for correct spelling!) ;) Kim Jong-il. To my mind he is quite clearly mentally ill! and yet he is allowed to swan around the place dictating here, and tyrannising there. I have never understood how one person, and lets be honest, sexism aside, they are usually men, have been able to persuade so many people to follow them to the ends of the earth (Possibly quite literally in this case!) without someone saying "Hang on this bloke is a fruitcake." There are a many examples of this kind of thing, Adolf Hitler and Simon Cowell being just two.

I suppose it is the old "Emperors new clothes" scenario. Many think that he is bonkers, but who dares say it first? Fear, he rules by fear.

The documentary was following a Nepalese doctor who wanted to operate on blind North Koreans who suffered with cataracts, but a film crew was covertly filming as they went on their "Journey." The doctor operated on over a thousand patients in ten days, a feat that should have had the recipients of his skills worshipping him. As the bandages were taken off and people that were previously blind found that they were able to see again, did they thank the doctor?, they fell to their knees in front of a portrait of Kim Jong-il thanking and praising their "Dear leader" as they call him. Tears rolled down their faces and hands were outstretched as they sang the praises of the short arsed little twat that had caused their blindness in the first place. Years of malnutrition etc. had played it's part in causing these people to lose their sight, and this was as a direct result of this little bastard's policies. Yet they praised him for returning their sight to them, incredible.

By the way, Kim Jong-il lives in the lap of luxury. The rulers have a policy that North Korea will be totally self sufficient. They will import nothing, and will be totally self reliant. This of course doesn't stop the poisoned dwarf from importing hundreds of American Cadillacs, and being one of the worlds biggest collectors of fine brandy! As seems to be traditional for all tyrants "We are all equal, but some are more equal than others."

North and South Korea are of course separated by the 38th parallel, and just before I go, let me share with you what must be one of the strangest, saddest and most amusing things I have seen in a very long time. At the main border point, North Korean guards stand one side, and South Korean and American guards stand the other. They basically spend all day sort of staring each other out! There is a sort of hut come porta cabin in the middle where they sometimes hold meetings if there is something important to discuss. This American soldier had something "Important" to tell the North Korean guards, and so went into the hut and phoned them on the special 1960's wind up Russian phone that is in there. The North Koreans wouldn't answer the phone! "Ner ner ne ner ner!"

So in the end the American soldier, with the aid of a megaphone and an interpreter, said "Will you please pick up the phone! To which the North Koreans pretty much said "No shan't" and stuck their metaphorical tongues out! So the American soldier read out the "Important" message while the North Koreans basically wandered about with their metaphorical fingers in their ears going "La la la, can't hear you, la la la!" I love it! Two countries that are almost on the brink of nuclear war, resorting to the playground!

It's utterly crazy, the guards from both sides stand only feet apart. My God I would be so tempted to dip a toe over the line when they weren't looking! "Invading, not invading. Invading, not invading!"

I think I will leave it to Team America to finish this post with the poisoned dwarf wandering around his palace singing "Ronry, yes I'm so ronry!"

Faith or fear?.......

PS. Gotta go, i have just seen McAfam's parachute open.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Food for thought.......

When I re-kick started this blog, i was determined-ish to make it more high brow, more intellectual, more refined, with less cursing and ranting. I don't think that decision should preclude me from the odd rant though. So a subject dear to my heart will be getting "Muled" today.

Food, or more to the point, the cooking of.......

I don't think that anybody who watches television, can deny that over the last decade or so there has been an acceleration in the number of "How to cook stuff" programmes that adorn our screens. On the whole, if you are a sensitive soul like me, I think it would be fair to say that they are maddening.

What's even more maddening, is that I frequently find myself watching them. The event that has inspired me to put fingers to keyboard is the impending 'Masterchef'.

This is a program that I love to hate, this is a program that encompasses just about every bloody irritating, annoying, infuriating, petty, incredulous thing that winds me up about cooking on TV. Don't get me wrong, there are many others, but this one takes the biscuit.

It is hosted by an Australian chef and a sort of mockney green grocer! possibly two of the most irritating men on our screens today. For those of you out there with a sense of purpose in life I will sum up the premise of the programme. Members of the public turn up and cook stuff, and the Aussy chef and the green grocer then tell them that they haven't seasoned it properly. Yep, that's about it. It's a knockout competition, and at the end of what seems like a life time, one contestant is crowned 'Masterchef'. Of course as is the way these days, there is a celebrity version as well. This is for celebrities who's careers have faltered, and were not famous enough to get onto 'I am a celebrity, get me out of here'. Then to top it all off, we have 'Masterchef, the professionals' This is where Professional chefs turn up and cook stuff, and the Aussy chef and the green grocer tell them that they haven't seasoned it properly.

I could go on and on and list every little nuance that makes my blood curdle, but what's the point. I am not going to single out 'Masterchef' for a muling, they are all just as bad, and they all know who they are.

I think the best way to do this is just to simply do a list of "Why's"

Why do chefs have to have their nose's 2 inches from the plate when they are assembling their creations?

While i am at it, why does all the food have to piled on top of one another?

Why is it so important that some sort of schedule is adhered to? It's all rush rush rush isn't it, shout shout shout. Ok, people don't want to hang around for hours on end when dining out, but i don't understand why such a strict time line is so critical. A fine example of this is thus: If a contestant on 'Masterchef' reaches the dizzy heights of whatever round it is blah blah blah, they have the "Privilege" of cooking for some food critics. This is a job I have never understood what so ever. It largely entails men that resemble Jabba the Hut sitting around stuffing themselves, and musing about things not being seasoned properly. Anyway, if one of the contestants is failing to adhere to the schedule all hell breaks loose!

The Aussy chef and the grocer cast evil glances at the offender, and sometimes if they're really late (Two minutes seems to be the breaking point) they have to embrace each other for support. The tension becomes so great, that a good hard physical embrace is the only thing that can stop them from crumbling.

Then it happens, the moment that every contestant throughout the history of 'Masterchef' fears, They are told to go and tell the waiting guests that their main course is going to be two minutes late. I say tell them, actually they usually spit the words at them. It's usually the Aussy chef that does the dirty deed. You can see the hatred in his eyes, you can detect that this cardinal sin, this heinous crime has clawed at his chefy soul with such vigour, that the only way to vent his anger is to glare at the perpetrator with a look of pure disgust and tell him or her to "Go and tell them, go and tell them what a disgusting creature you are. Bow down before them, prostrate yourself, and throw yourself upon their mercy. Tell them that their food will be two minutes late. GO!.......GO NOW YOU HIDEOUS FIEND"

So off the poor little soul trots, his head hung in shame. Trembling and sweating he gulps before he enters the sacred chamber of the eating Gods. An uneasy silence falls upon the room as the contestant stands before them head bowed. His mouth dry, his voice cracking, he speaks......."I am so sorry, your main course is going to be two minutes late."

These aresholes look at him as if he has just said "I have cut out your children's livers, and fried them with some fava beans!"

For fuck's sake.......IT'S ONLY COOKING.

I fully expect that one day a hapless contestant will enter the room to find the critics covered in cobwebs, their appearance akin to that of an Auschwitz Jew!

Why is this pedantic punctuality so critical? When real people go out for dinner in the real world, I am pretty confident that they don't sit at the table spitting at their wife "This main course is thirty eight seconds later than I thought it was going to be, what is the world coming to Margeret?"

When did we start accepting huge plates and tiny portions?

Why do chefs bang on about "Pan frying" things? what else are you going to fry it in?

Why do they drizzle and not just pour?

Why do I hate the phrase "Fine dining" so much? Is it because they expect plebs like me to be happy with "Average dining?"

Why does some wine go with some food? This REALLY gets up my arse. On some cooking shows, the God like chef will "Give birth" to a masterful creation, and then a wine "Expert" will be dispatched to find the relevant wine to accompany it. WHAT??? What does this mean? There will be some tweed suit wearing, cravat adorned cock standing in an off license, waxing lyrical about a "Fruity little white, that is just cheeky enough to bring out the best in the dish." I will say it, i will say it now, and i will be bold enough to say it on behalf of the nation......."FUCK RIGHT OFF!"

In the real world real people don't think like this. Yes there will be some pretentious tossers that think they know all there is to know about wine (There is nothing to know. It's grapes!) but on the whole, we all just want a glass of nice tasting plonk that helps the steak go down.

But in TV land, they are all in the pretend kitchen in the studio marvelling at how the lemony zinginess of the white, brings out something blah blah blah in the whatever.......In the real world I don't think George is spitting out wine all over the restaurant floor, coughing and saying "Dear God Margeret, this wine is in no way complimenting my chicken dippers"

Oh look, it's lunch time. Well I'm off to have sausage roll chips and beans. I may even have a glass of wine out of a box! That will show them.

It is at this point in the proceedings that i give the cue to Mr McAdam to enter stage right with a list of facts figures and corrections! I am fully expecting to see my next blog covered in red ink! E- see me boy. (Private joke, sorry ;) )

Bone appetite.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Set phasers on stun.......

Since quitting my job.......what? oh you don't really want to know all the gory details do you?.......oh ok, a quick summary.

Mid life crisis (Reginald Perin Style-Though clothed)

Some appalling management decisions (I can say it now, ah the freedom!)





Right that about sums it up, back to I was saying, since quiting my job, I have had some time on my hands. Some of that time has been taken up with household chores, and a great deal of the rest with my ever growing fascination for all things U.F.O!

This really is a tricky one for me, half of me is a weary cynic, and the other half a kind of maybe believer. You see, even the half that believes is half cynical, so what does that make me, you do the maths.

I have actually seen something strange in the sky. One night about eleven pm I was outside trying to encourage our Jack Russells to urinate, when my attention turned to the stars. I often do this as the heavens are a truly wondrous spectacle. It was a semi cloudy night, and out of the corner of my eye something caught my attention. I peered harder, and there, either in or above the clouds, was a light. "So what," you might say, the night sky is full of stars, some of them very bright. But this light was different, it was nearer, it is hard to say how far away it was as there is no point of reference in a cloudy night sky, but it didn't look far away. It was much bigger than the stars I could see, and because of the clouds, it was fuzzy, not clear and concise. Then to my astonishment it divided into four lights spaced at twelve, three, six and nine o'clock, and rotated counter clockwise one hundred and eighty degrees. It stayed like this for a few seconds, then closed to a single light again. It repeated this over and over again.

I rushed in and woke up my wife, so that she could confirm what i was seeing. She agreed that yes it was there, and then declared that she was going in because it was cold! I on the other hand was not going to miss a single second of what might be a close encounter. I dragged a deckchair from the shed, and settled down for what must have been half an hour. The "U.F.O" gradually moved away towards the north west, and eventually faded from view.

Now, can I categorically state that this was an alien craft full of little green men, of course not. But I have mused over this on many occasions, and I continually fail to come to a logical earthbound conclusion.

My interest in this subject was not pricked by this event, quite the opposite. I have had a healthy interest in this kind of thing for a while, and it merely added fuel to the fire. I did toy with the idea for a little while that it might mean that I was the second coming, but having failed miserably to turn water in to wine on several attempts, I have put this notion to bed.

So as I was saying earlier, being at home all day, my Sky box is very often tuned to the discovery channels. There are lots of programmes on these channels that deal with the subject of U.F.O's. Some of it is probably hogwash, but can it all be hogwash? Yes there are some accounts of encounters by "Billie Bob" who after downing moonshine all evening, suddenly found himself aboard the mother ship, but others who I think it is far more difficult to poo poo. Airline pilots, military pilots, police officers, and yes even astronauts! is it really fare to call them all liars? Can they really all have been hallucinating?

A lot of these encounters are not just a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of one's eye, but a prolonged and sustained "Hounding" by what appears to be persistent craft, controlled by some kind of intelligence. World war two pilots often reported seeing balls of light. Some may say that they were merely witnessing ball lightening, but these balls of light carried out manoeuvres that ball lightening simply wouldn't do. The pilots of that era coined the phrase "Foo Fighters." It was suspected that the Nazi's were carrying out all kinds of experiments during the war, some of which were on a mind boggling scale. Some believe that these balls of light may have been some kind of Nazi created phenomena, for what purpose nobody really knows, but was it?

Some Ufologists believe in the ancient alien theories. ie: that aliens descended from the skies thousands of years ago, and kick started human technology. It is agreed by a lot of scholars, U.F.O. fans or not, that about ten thousand years ago there seemed to be a big leap in humans mastery of technology. Paintings throughout history have depicted "Things" in the sky that resemble disc like shapes.

There is a tribe of people in Mali region of Africa called the Dogon people. In 1931 two French anthropologists stumbled upon them, and proceeded to befriend them. Over the next thirty years they became privy to some of the Dogon's most devout beliefs. Among others was that they were visited by aliens many centuries ago, and those aliens imparted knowledge upon them. Knowledge of where they came from etc. The Dogon told the anthropologists that they came from a star that we now call Sirius B. The startling thing is, is that not only would a tribe that live in mud huts and can only have minimal access to books at best be unlikely to know about this star, the educated world didn't know about this star! Sirius A is visible to the naked eye, but Sirius B isn't. It can only be seen with powerful telescopes, and was only discovered in 1976, forty years after the Dogon told the anthropologists about it!

There are examples of this kind of thing all over the world, and history is littered with this kind of stuff. Some say that the Nazca lines in southern Peru are a landing strip for alien spacecraft. I roll my eyes at this theory, really, if an alien civilisation has got the technical ability to traverse the mind boggling distances of space to get here, surely they would have a better method of landing than having to lower the undercarriage! I can just imagining the alien pilots of the craft bursting through the clouds and peering out of the window. "Oh bugger, no landing strip, turn it around Dave, we will have to go home!"

This is where my cynical half (Or was it three quarters, I haven't worked it out yet) starts to raise it's ugly head. Take "The Greys" for example. The Greys are the most "Common" type of alien, the one's that inhabit popular culture. We have all seen depictions of them. Large head, large black eyes, short, skinny limbs etc. Now, we are lead to believe that these beings are far more technologically advanced than us puny humans. They have somehow mastered the ability of defying the laws of physics that Albert Einstein toiled so hard over, and also are able to withstand g forces that would vapourise a human being, if some of the manoeuvres that have been "Witnessed" are to be believed. Yet they apparently haven't mastered tailoring! Why are they always naked, and while i am on the subject, where are their genitals? How do they reproduce? They can allegedly create a worm hole in the space time continuum, but can't have babies, or indeed urinate.

I could go on forever, listing examples of "Evidence" then tearing that "Evidence" down with some cold hard cynical logic, but what would be the point?

I am still in two minds about it all, or is that three minds.......or four! Lets just hope that if and when they do land, they don't ask to be "Taken to your leaders" Then we are all buggered!

About Me

Smileville, Smileshire, United Kingdom
Don't let the bastards grind you down! peace and love x